New Blu's On the Block - December 11, 2012


Rating: Various

Distributor: Various

Released: December 11, 2012


Written by Sara Michelle Fetters



New Blu's On the Block
Blu-ray and DVD Releases for December 11, 2012

It’s an interesting day for Blu-ray, a pair of Criterion releases sure to get cinephiles (and Christopher Nolan fanatics) extremely excited, while Disney brings Warren Beatty’s sole foray into the world of comic strips and comic books to hi-def for the very first time. There’s also a hit HBO television show and an R-rated comedy about a living breathing teddy bear that proved to be a massive box office hit, both of which have their respective fan bases salivating at the prospect of adding each to their respective collections. What else is there? Read on and see.



Following – Criterion Collection

One week after The Dark Knight Rises hit Blu-ray thus making his entire Batman trilogy available for home viewing, now thanks to the good folks at the Criterion Collection comes director Christopher Nolan’s 1998 debut offering Following and fans of the filmmaker couldn’t be more excited. Packed with extras, including a ‘linear’ cut of the film that puts things in the order they actually happen, this explosive first film for the filmmaker is a master class of cinematic storytelling acumen. Simple, even if thematically convoluted, filled with visual and musical cues to that would quickly become a hallmark of his major Hollywood studio work, the movie is a major wow from start to finish, Criterion’s handling of the title bordering on absolute perfection. Buy it at once.




From my theatrical review (read it here): “Ted is a one-joke movie…Thankfully, it’s a semi-decent one, and for a great deal of the movie’s running time there is plenty to laugh at, especially early on…On the whole, though, Ted left me wanting. The movie is all concept, revolving around its one joke to the determent of everything else.”



Dick Tracy

Coming a single year after the blockbuster release of Tim Burton’s Batman, legendary actor/producer/director Warren Beatty decided to put his mark on the comic book film, using Chester Gould’s legendary strip Dick Tracy as inspiration to do just that. What followed was a fantastic, visually stimulating exercise in cinematic chutzpah, the director filling the screen with larger-the-life characters and square-jawed heroes that were decidedly of a world gone by (if said world ever existed at all). Even though it received mixed notices at the time of its release, time has been quite kind to Beatty’s Dick Tracy, Disney’s Blu-ray presentation an eye-popping marvel that’s a feast for the senses. An amusing, pleasingly old fashioned spectacle, the movie is reminder to the pure joy that can be found in movies such as this and not every superhero has to come weighed down with excessive emotional baggage. A joy.



The Bourne Legacy

From my theatrical review (read it here): “It’s interesting, a great deal of fun, even, but there is no avoiding the fact that The Bourne Legacy, an expansion of the universe set forth by The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum but without that trio’s titular hero and star, does feel a bit on the overly familiar side. As spectacular as some of the beats are, as great as many of the escapes, close calls and bit of intellectual ingenuity can be, the simple truth is that we’ve seen all of this before, and even though we’re presented with a new cast of characters the situations themselves present more than their fair share of déjà vu.” For more on this release, check out our recently posted Blu-ray Review.




Ice Age: Continental Drift 3D

Ice Age: Continental Drift

From my theatrical review (read it here): “Sure the animation is amazing, but at this point and in this day and age one wonders how it couldn’t be, and yes there are still moments, most of them, unsurprisingly revolving around the put-upon never able to get his beloved acorn half-rat, half-squirrel Scrat, but overall this latest prehistoric kid-friendly adventure is a gigantic drag. The story is tired, the characters don’t charm near as much as they used to and the whole thing feels uninspired and thrown together in a way that’s oddly unappealing.”



Girls: The Complete First Season

Lena Dunham’s hit HBO series comes to Blu-ray, and having not watched a single solitary episode I’m somewhat curious to discover what the fuss for this one has been all about. Sadly, a review copy was not forthcoming, so while I’m still eager to give this show a look don’t expect me to be doing so anytime soon.



The Qatsi Trilogy (Koyaanisqatsi / Powaqqatsi / Naqoyqatsi) - Criterion Collection

In many respects, Godfrey Reggio's The Qatsi Trilogy speaks for itself. Since the first film, Koyaanisqatsi, was released way back in 1982 it’s not like there have been a ton of similar productions to hit screens since. Sure, movies like Baraka and this year’s Samsara have been compared to it, and on some level there are similarities, but overall what it was Reggio was attempting, the way he was attempting to view the world, all of that was – and still is – unique in and of itself, making the resulting motion picture an idiosyncratic marvel worthy of discussion and debate.


The sequels? Well, they expand upon Reggio’s ideas, speculating about the here and now as well as trying to look far into the future as to what we might become. They don’t work near as well as the first film in the trilogy does, but are still nonetheless quite interesting and totally deserving of being seen. Anchoring all three pictures are eerily iconic scores from the great Philip Glass, and it’s doubtful any of the films would have been nearly as successful or as involving without his unforgettable musical accompaniment.



Bill Cunningham New York

From my theatrical review (read it here): “[For] a talking heads doc about a guy riding a Schwinn around the streets of the Big Apple taking pictures of women’s skirt trends and fabulously coifed idiosyncratic personalities this is about as perceptive, and as surprisingly moving, a motion picture as I’ve seen so far this year. [Bill Cunningham New York] has a refreshing allure that goes beyond fashion, beyond journalism, moving from moment to moment and scene to scene with a remarkable precision that is as emotional as it is fascinating.”



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·         Ashanti

·         Babes in Toyland (1961)

·      Baron Blood

·      Beloved Infidel - Twilight Time

·         Death Valley

·         Heavyweights

·         The Island (1980)

·         The Joy Luck Club

·         Les Misérables (1998)

·         Manufactured Landscapes (Read Sara’s Theatrical Review)

·         Miami Connection

·         Osombie

·         The Portrait of a Lady (1996)

·         The Ultimate Buster Keaton Collection

·         Why Stop Now

·         The Wild Geese



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When a fiercely competitive 30-year-old rower fails to make the Olympic team for the second time, she takes a coaching job at a school but struggles to adjust to life off the race course. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)



Beloved (2012)

In 1964 Paris, Madeleine (Ludivine Sagnier, Love Songs, Love Crime), a shoe salesgirl and part-time prostitute, falls in love with Jaromil, a Czech doctor she has picked up. Years later, Madeleine (played in maturity by the great Catherine Deneuve), now married to another man, continues to see Jaromil (director Milos Forman). Meanwhile, her grown daughter Vera (Chiara Mastroianni, the real-life daughter of cinema icons Deneuve and Marcello Mastroianni) is in emotional turmoil of her own, torn between her longtime boyfriend (Louis Garrel, The Dreamers, Ma Mere) and an unobtainable American musician (Paul Schneider, Water for Elephants, Elizabethtown). Christophe Honoré's musical romantic drama Beloved is a sweeping, heartfelt story set against the transcontinental political and social upheavals of four decades - all set to infectious songs sung by the cast. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)



Black Like Me

Based on the landmark memoir by John Howard Griffin, Black Like Me stars James Whitmore as Griffin, who medically altered his pigment and, with the help of a sunlamp, reinvented himself as an itinerant black writer navigating his way through Mississippi and Alabama. Along the way he experienced firsthand both crushing racism and the incredible life force of the Afro-American communities. Thanks to a full restoration from the original negative, this is the first time Black Like Me has been released on DVD. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)



Dreams of a Life

Dreams of a Life is an imaginative and multilayered quest to go beyond the newspaper reports and solve the mystery of who thirty-eight year old Joyce Vincent was and why she lay undiscovered for three years after her death in one of the busiest parts of London. Joyce Vincent died in her bedsit above Shopping City in Wood Green. Nobody noticed. Nearly three years later, her flat was forced into by authorities due to lack of rent payment. Her skeleton was found surrounded by Christmas presents that she was in the process of wrapping. Her television was still on. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)



The Falls

RJ and Chris are two teenage boys raised in Mormon communities. Though both are poster boys for their church with perfect academic records and pretty girlfriends, buried feelings soon rise to the surface when they are assigned to serve a mission together as part of their rite of passage. Now, they will have to make sense of the conflict between their desires and the rules that govern the only world they know. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)




Handsome Broadway actor Matthew Wilkas (Spiderman) co-stars with the hilarious Jenn Harris as a gay guy and his straight best friend who decide to have a baby together the old-fashioned way! While yoga teacher Jen copes with her co-workers (including her gay best pal Jack Ferver); in his attempt to get over his ex-boyfriend comic book artist Matt falls for a Clark Kent lookalike (Green Lantern’s Mike Doyle). Meanwhile, Matt s flaming best friend Nelson provides hilarious ongoing commentary (a great comic performance by Jonathan Lisecki). The film s top-notch cast also includes Adam Driver and Alex Karpovsky (Girls), Dulé Hill (Psych) and stage veteran Louis Cancelmi. Hilarious, sexy, wacky and romantic, this perfectly told New York tale from writer-director-star Jonathan Lisecki follows the travails of Jen and Matt all the way to one of the happiest happy endings you’ve ever seen. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)




Academy Award-nominated director Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me) and executive producers Will Arnett, Jason Bateman and Ben Silverman take a hilarious look at men's identity in the 21st century in Mansome, a documentary about image-consciousness, gender politics and proper grooming. Models, actors, experts and comedians including Judd Apatow, John Waters and Paul Rudd weigh in on what it means to be a man in a world where the definition of masculinity has become as diverse as a hipster's facial hair in Williamsburg. With his trademark wit and incisive perception, Spurlock once again crafts a film that's equal parts informative and uproarious. (Description reprinted from Amazon.com)



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·         Law & Order: Criminal Intent – Year Nine




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·         Hannah and Her Sisters (Jan 15, 2013)

·         Sleeper (Jan 15, 2013)

·         Cloud Atlas (Feb 5, 2013)

·         Nurse Jackie: Season Four (Feb 12, 2013)

·         Weeds: The Final Season (Feb 12, 2013)

·         Irreconcilable Differences (Feb 19, 2013)

·         From Beyond (March 5, 2013)

·         Phantasm II (March 5, 2013)



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